Writing An Offer

Writing down an offer to present to a seller is probably the most difficult task that you are probably going to face when you try to buy a house. It's generally a good idea to seek the services of an attorney, and your realtor or real estate agent to help you detail exactly what you want and also what information you need to make an informed decision about whether or not you really want to purchase the property.

Property Condition

The first thing that you need to consider when making your decision on the property and when writing an offer is what information do you have available about the condition of the property.

This information can come from a variety of sources, however the main source of information about the property is from the present owners.

Under state laws the seller, either an individual or a bank that is selling and REO (real estate owned) property are obligated to disclose information about the property, including faults and violations etc that will have an impact on the buyers decision to purchase the house.

Anyone can look around a property during an open house, or personal tour, however you want be able to pick up on half as many of the problems that the seller knows about; as a seller have been living in the home for years. The information they have regarding the property is important and might be vital to helping you make the right decision.

Although the seller is legally required to make known all facts materially affecting the value, or attractiveness of their property that are known to them, you should nevertheless have the need for a property disclosure placed into the offer you present to the seller.

Normally the disclosure of the relevant information is given to the buyer as a form called a 'disclosure document'. The most frequent information noted in the disclosure form includes:

Description of equipment in the kitchen

List of safety feature in the property

Items physically attached to the outside of the house

Amenities and other facilities in the house

Style of heating and its condition

Type and condition of Water supply

Any faults or defects that exist in the property

Environmental hazards

Walls or fences shared with adjoining landowners

Room additions or repairs Zoning violations

Citations against the property

Lawsuits against the seller affecting the property

Any deaths in the past three years

You must make sure that you have a written guarantee that additions or repairs that were made had all the essential permits and where in compliance with building codes.

State And Condition

Another important item that you should have written into the offer is what you expect the state and condition the property to be in when you take ownership of it.

Most people have at some point found an apartment to rent that looks great when there are shown round and then is a mess when they move in. To avoid this situation it is important that you lay down in writing exactly what you expect to find when you move into the property. The last thing you want is to move into your new place and then spend weeks cleaning and making livable. Stating the minimum standards of cleanliness, housing condition and the contents that belong to the house is a good idea.

As the buyer you have a right to negotiate with the seller on what you would expect from the seller as a clean house. The main areas that you may wish to focus on a could be:

Curb appeal and the outside of the property: how the outside of the house looks. Generally you would want the exterior to look clean and tidy. Interior general cleaning: want the house to be fit to live in when you move in. Make a note to ask for items like clean windows, shampooed carpets and new paint on the walls, etc. Replacement of all worn fixtures and fittings: No one wants to move into a house to find that the bathroom light is

Asking for all of the above is the first start, but remember that the sellers will not want to spend too much money on cleaning and fixing things. You should negotiate with what you absolutely must have clean then work from there

What Comes With The House?

Also when negotiating the condition of the house, make a point to find out what items come with the property and what are legally the sellers, so there is no confusion when you move in.

When writing an offer it is always important to think about the need for inspections. It's not an easy judgment to decide if a property is suitable to live in and regardless of the information you may have received in the disclosure form it maybe worth your money to have a some inspections carried out on the home; to help estimate its true value and condition.

There are various types of inspections, each different from the next and carried out for different reasons. Some of the inspections that you maybe interested in having carried out are:

Home appraisal: This is used to discover what the property is really worth and if you are paying too much for it. A home inspection is carried out by a professional inspector and as such can be expensive. General home inspection: An inspection of a property is carried out by an ASHI (The American Society of Home Inspectors) licensed inspector, who checks the overall condition of the property, noting any faults where they maybe found and then producing a report to the buyer. Pest/termite inspection: A pest or termite inspection determines whether there are any problems with a property due to pests or termites. Plumbing Inspection: A house examiner normally conducts the plumbing inspection, checking various functions, such as the water pressure, and looking for signs of leakage and rust. Water inspection: Cities that supply water are required to carry out routine water tests. If the property you are buying at has a private source of water then you should think about a private water testing inspection to find out the bacteria content and mineral content of the water. Lead Test: if the property is old a check for lead content in the house maybe appropriate, to make sure that it is at a safe level. Septic/Cesspool Testing: Septic testing involves testing the overall functioning of the system. Radon test: Radon testing should be used to check that the level of Radon gas in the house is at a safe and normal value for the area you live in. Asbestos inspection: This test is carried out if the property is old. Electrical test: This inspection usually covers essential electrical system inspections, comprising of an number of tests. New Home Inspection: If the house that you are buying is relatively new then you may wan a new home inspection to check various items to check that everything was put together correctly.

Once everything is complete and the offer is 99% finished don't forget to think about adding one final clause: the final walk through.

A final walk through is one of the most basic, yet important parts of any real estate deal. Although we would like to believe everything that we are you can't afford to take someone's word; you should have everything written down before submitting the offer.

In general it is good to go on a walk through with a realtor no sooner than five days before closing the deal. Whilst not being a really complicated process, everyone has his or her own idea of what the final walk through should incorporate. Below is a suggested itinerary of the walk through:

Outside the house: start your final walk through outside and examine everything that you asked to be looked at. The garage: If the property has a garage make sure that it has been cleaned out, and that the garage door actually open and closes freely. Bottom floor of the house: This will have lots of rooms and you should check each individually. Normally in the bottom floor you should look through the living room, kitchen and washrooms for signs of faults, un completed repairs and anything else that you placed in the offer. Second and third floors: The sleeping areas should be checked to make sure that they are fresh and clean and all furniture is still where it should be. Attic: If the property has an attic check that all the owners possessions have been removed.